Murphy's Law

[Captain Courier, Part I]

I strode up to the receptionist desk.

“You called?” I said to the receptionist.

“Yes, this is a TOP SECRET message that needs to be delivered IMMEDIATELY,” she said, capitalizing TOP SECRET and IMMEDIATELY in her words. “And don't let anyone stop you.”

“Don't worry, ma'am,” I said as I took the sealed envelope from the receptionist's hands. “Captain Courier is here.” And with that, I left.

“Al,” I said into the payphone. “The grass is green over the septic tank.” Translation (in case the phone lines were tapped): I have the TOP SECRET message and am ready to deliver it.

“Good,” said Al. “Do you know where you are going?” Translation: Do you know where you are going?

“The dish had an affair with the butcher knife,” I said. Translation: Spies Backward-R Spies, down in South Miami.

“Good,” said Al. “Call me when you get there.” Translation: Call me when you get there.

“A tape recorder up a man's nose,” I said and hung up. Translation: Roger, Wilco and Out (whoever they were).

I dashed from the payphone to the CourierCar, a specially souped up car with more gadgets than Batman's utility belt. I stepped in, stapped down and started up. I then punched in the destination into the onboard computer (a neat 35MHz 386 with 16M of RAM, 1M of ROM and was MS-DOS compatible). A printout of directions to the destination came from the ashtray. I studied them, and as per instructions (Order number 3456.2, paragraph 23.4, sentance 45.9) I ate the printout. Parsip flavored. I was going to have to talk to Al about changing the paper flavor. I made a note of it on the onboard computer, and was off.

Yes, I was one of the infrequent, the mighty, one of the Captain Couriers! What a summer job for a college student. Ah yes, there is nothing like driving around for hours looking for addresses that don't exist, streets that don't exist, cities that don't exist, driving along I-95 (well, for that matter, driving anywhere in South Florida) and wearing a boffo keeno beeper unit! It was more than a college student could ask for. Anyway, enough of this digression; back to the mission.

Bing. Bing.

That was the computer. I looked at the screen.


That was not good. Bing. Bing. I looked at the screen again.


That was even worse. The computer took over steering the car. The car went left. My stomach didn't. Neither did the car following us. But the car following the car following us did. The computer tried some more evasive actions and finally resorted to getting on I-95.

I was trying to find the Anti-Evasive Sickness Pills. We (the computer, car and I) were doing 95 on I-95 when I found them. Good. Then I could concentrate on using the defensive capabilities the car had.

But first things were first. I hit the button marked “Stealth Activation” …

Part II of “The Adventures of Captain Courier” next week.


For about two months in the summer of '89 I was a courier.

What that means is that I drive packages from point A in Lower Sheol to point B in Lower Sheol, often times to address that once existed, don't exist quite yet, or are in the back end of a blind alley just off a cul-de-sac in an obscure neighborhood with lethargic security guards (and I should know, the previous summer I was a security guard).

That was also the year that the State of Florida was widening I-95.

Fun driving, that.

And the computer system has dated quite badly over the past decade; bump the specs up by two orders of magnitude and then you'll be talking about a decent system today.